LEICESTER, UK -- In 1961, John F. Kennedy became the President of the USA and the Russian Yuri Gagarin was the first person to travel into space. The very same year, Swiss master joiner Ludwig Striebig revolutionised sawing. He registered his patent for a “Device for cutting major structural plates to size or for cutting sections therefrom” – heralding the birth of the vertical panel saw.
Striebig, who died in 1995, was a practical craftsman, a brilliant problem solver and a visionary inventor all in one. His revolutionary principle transformed material handling in the workshop and made the work of the woodworker much easier. Thanks to his innovative ideas the vertical panel saw developed from an original, simple basic cutting tool to a high-precision, automatic sizing and cutting machine.
From the middle of the 1950s, the large size chipboard panel took over the European market. This initially meant strenuous work for the operator in order to cut the panels to the required format.
Striebig, the master joiner, solved this problem with an astonishingly simple solution – he stood the horizontal panels upright. The cutting device he constructed was a wooden frame that supported a horizontal, moveable beam on which he attached a circular hand saw that could be moved vertically and pivoted into a horizontal position.
After gaining extensive hands-on experience with the saw in his workshop in Littau, near Lucerne, Striebig registered the patent in March 1961. Later that year he made and sold his first vertical panel saw, the Model 62. The frame and the beam were by now made of metal and a proper saw unit was built into it. Machines he built in 1961 are still in use today, which provides irrefutable evidence of the legendary durability of the Swiss craftsman’s precision engineering.
The high level of demand for a ‘Striebig’ from his Swiss woodworking colleagues convinced Ludwig to give up his joinery business. He concentrated solely on the production of vertical panel saws, established initial contacts with dealers abroad and exhibited his products at the Swiss National Exhibition in Lausanne in 1964.
In 1968, Striebig launched the completely new Model 68 series which was to be the basis of the fledgling manufacturing venture’s global success story. The saw was technically light years ahead of the rest of the market, with its 80mm cutting depth; 300mm saw blade diameter; integrated extraction system; and a powerful saw motor.
Model 68 was to become what it stood for – the industry standard. Today, with more than 30,000 machines produced, the Striebig Standard is still the world’s best-selling vertical panel saw.
Striebig has always been a trendsetter in terms of technical developments. For example, in 1984 the award-winning Tempomat was the first panel saw to feature an automatic lowering device, offering hydraulic panel clamping for continuous cutting. It was soon discovered that the increased cost of these machines pushed them out of the market niche successfully exploited by Striebig and the model was discontinued. After the Striebig patent had expired the technology was copied by other manufacturers and was being promoted in 2010 as a new innovation!
Half a century on, the vertical panel saw is still the sole focus of all commercial activities at Striebig AG’s ultra-modern factory. Every member of the design and production team concentrates on a series of important questions each working day. What added value can we offer to the market? How can we make panel cutting even more comfortable and efficient? How can we continue to guarantee precision, safety and durability for our customers in the future?
Striebig is notable amongst woodworking machinery manufacturers for not continually introducing new models, but refining existing machines to improve their productivity and ease of use.
The current Striebig vertical panel saws product portfolio consists of four machine series catering for all sizing needs. There’s the entry-level Compact, the Standard, the Evolution and the high-tech Control vertical sawing centre. Each is available in nine standard sizes with an extensive selection of options available to improve the saws’ effectiveness still further. Machines can also be built in special sizes and fitted with specialist equipment to suit individual requirements.
The Striebig Compact comes in frame sizes starting at 10 ft x 5 ft. (3100mm x 1644mm) and includes an automated cut cycle version, the Compact AV, while the ever-popular Standard – the original heavyweight, tried and tested over decades - is the perfect saw for companies of all sizes.
The fully-automatic Control now offers an optional Electronic Positioning System (EPS) on both axes for the automatic positioning of both the length stop and saw head. This increases the saws’ productivity by delivering automatic repeat strip and upper trim cutting.
Latest standard features include a laser-supported display for totally accurate horizontal cuts, another industry ‘first’ for Striebig. There’s also a cutting list input function, provided via a USB memory stick.
With manual feeding of the saw unit eliminated the operator’s job is made easier, giving him ample time to prepare the next job. Numerous procedures are carried out at the press of a button, including locking and releasing the beam saw, setting the horizontal cutting height, plunging and swivelling the motor, locking the support rollers during sawing and fine saw blade adjustment.
Where high levels of panel throughput are needed, the Control and the Evolution now offer an optional 100mm cutting depth instead of the previous 80mm. The Evolution has many similar features to the Control, making it one of the most advanced manual panel saws available.
Both series feature as standard Striebig’s user-friendly “touch and saw” operating system. This delivers easy and convenient machine control through a touch screen panel that operates all of the machine’s functions.
Other standard features include a digital measuring system, accurate to 0.1 mm, and an adjustable precision display that can be set to an accuracy of 1.0, 0.5 or 0.1 mm, according to the thickness of the panels being sized. A unique option on both models is four-sided trimming, which enables the bottom trim cut to be carried out automatically without having to lift or turn the panel.
All Striebig models, which can be wall-mounted or freestanding, cut practically all wood-based sheet materials as well as timber, plaster board, plastics and aluminium panels. They offer impressive dust limit values well below 1mg/m3. Due to their versatility they are used in a wide range of industries from shop fitting to exhibition stand construction, and from car making to aircraft construction
To mark the 50th anniversary of the introduction of the vertical panel saw, Striebig is continuing to concentrate on further extensive detailed enhancements to its product range.
One example is the tool database for the Control and Evolution models. Data from the saw, profile cutter and grooving tool can be stored in this high-performance software module. The tool database is easy to use via the touch screen panel. A connection to the electronic positioning system (EPS) ensures a high degree of flexibility and excellent repeat accuracy for panel cutting.
The tool database has been built into every new Control and Evolution machine since February and was officially launched to the trade at this year’s Ligna.
Striebig AG’s managing director Marcel Brunner said: “Innovation for innovation’s sake is not the way we have achieved our success. We place a great deal of importance on continually developing our saws in order to constantly provide customers with new or improved features.”
Because of this product strategy the company gives its customers an excellent degree of protection for their investment. With new developments and enhancements continually being introduced, in many cases the saws can be retrofitted to upgrade them to the most up-to-date technological standard.
Striebig panel saws are available in the UK from long-time dealer T.M. Machinery Sales, of Leicester. Sales director Matt Pearce said: “After half-a-century, Striebig saws have not lost any of their main advantages. They still offer space-saving, economic sawing with exceptional operating convenience and top precision.
“The constantly evolving sawing technology pioneered by Ludwig Striebig back in 1961 will continue to offer these same advantages for many years to come.”
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